Quote from CrunchRN
I am not a hospital nurse, but I am sure that it is several things. All new nurses feel stressed and overwhelmed. Anyone in a new job usually takes a minimum of 3 months to be effective and many much more. The hospital probably does not have enough support staff. Reach out to your fellow nurses or manager if she is good and let them know how you are feeling. Maybe they feel the same way, or maybe they can offer suggestions to work more effectively. You have worked too hard to get this far to throw it away. I feel for you and wish you the best. It's such a tough job, but nurses, and especially hospital/LTC nurses are incredibly special people and so very important to all of us. Keep us updated on how you are doing.
Thanks so much for your reply. I realize that it probably will take a while for me to feel effective. Being a new RN, I'm sure it takes me twice as long to do anything than those who have been at it for a while. But even the ones who have been at it a while complain and feel stressed out. (why they've stayed is beyond me....do they know something I don't know?).
I have spoken to my nurse manager who is a super nice person and has tried her best to be supportive and helpful. SHE is actually the reason I have not run screaming from the place already. There have been days when I have approached her, completely overwhelmed at my list of things that had to be done RIGHT NOW, and she has gone as far as to call in a nurse from another floor to help the hallway play catch up....and she's even gowned up herself and done patient care. One day in particular, I had about 5 things that needed to be done immediately....4 of which could have been and should have been done by a CNA......switching a patient into a new bed because his was broken (head wouldn't raise so couldn't eat or drink), getting 2 other patients onto stretchers to go downstairs for X-rays, things like this, all while trying to get my meds passed out and hanging IV's and tube feeds.
My complaint has been since day one that there are not enough CNA's on the floor. There are 2 hallways on the unit, currently there are 30 patients total. We typically have either 5 or 6 lisences (either 3 on each side or 2 on each side with a 3rd splitting between hallways) and 2 or 3 CNA's (1 in each hallway or 1 in each hall with the third splitting). Looking at the numbers, you'd THINK we would have enough staff--the numbers look great
on paper but don't take into account the acuity and needs of the patients....we NEVER HAVE ENOUGH HANDS. In the hallway I've been in recently, the patients are very sick, physically demanding and on the call lights continuously. It's a respiratory floor so we do a ton of suctioning.
The CNA is assigned 6 patients to wash up, leaving the rest for the lisenced staff....I typically wash up 2 or 3 of my 5 patients......in addition to passing a HUGE amount of meds at 8, 10, 12 and 2, not to mention taking off orders constantly throughout the day, faxing the pharmacy and running downstairs for missing meds, tube feeds, IV's, assessments, suctioning, treatments and God forbid we get an admission, that is such a time consuming experience............despite all my other nursing duties, I spend the MOST time each day giving bedpans and toileting people. I can't tell you how many times each and every day I feel completely exasperated, thinking of all the non-delegatable, RN duties I have left to do but CAN'T GET AROUND TO because I am too busy playing CNA. It's insane. There is no support staff to delegate anything to, EVER.....so the nurses on this floor are technically functioning as RN/CNA or LPN/CNA. I am most definitely not above doing patient care or ADL's....I worked for 8 years as a CNA before going to nursing school.......I am just finding it completely maddening trying to get my job done without help. There are 2 CNA's on the floor in particular who try their hardest to be as minimally helpful as possible (you can't delegate anything to either of them.....and they actually will chase me down to tell me my patient needs the bedpan or needs to go to the bathroom.....as a CNA I would have NEVER dreamt of passing off ADL's to an RN standing at the med cart.) I told my nurse manager that my job would be a whole lot less challenging if I could focus on just my assignment but the call lights never stop. (one of the above mentioned CNA's actually resentfully told me the other day she put one of my patients on the bedpan and followed with "if they aren't my patients I don't touch them".........uhhhh, if we all did that none of the patients would recieve attention). It takes me over 2 hours
to do my 8am meds for only 5 patients
because of all the interruptions. I'm at the med cart continuously to do what should take a short time every day but I can't get through it.......too busy bringing people to the bathroom or any one of 1,000 other things that a CNA could handle if we had more. It's ridiculous, really. I never ever have time to sit and look up labs and I feel like I barely get through each day....with only a vague picture of what's happening with my patients because I don't have a second to stop and read through charts and I always feel like my assessments are half-assed and rushed. I feel like a CNA who passes meds and I feel like I'm not giving good care....not because I don't want to or because I'm not capable of it, but because the staffing situation makes it impossible. I could go on and on but I'll spare you, LOL. I will definitely keep you posted. I've told everyone at work, including my manager that I'm leaving due to staffing issues, but haven't given my notice yet because I don't have a clue where to go from here.